12/31/2012 03:32 pm ET

Best Latino Athletes of 2012: Lionel Messi, Ryan Lochte, Danell Leyva And More Shinning Stars

Most Outstanding Athletes Of 2012

This year was marked by the 2012 London Olympics, where Latino athletes were some of the most successful players bringing glory in the shape of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Athletes like swimmer Ryan Lochte and gymnast Danell Leyva, both of Cuban descent, as well as Puerto Rican-American football player, Victor Cruz, and Venezuelan baseball player Pablo Sandoval, shone in their respective sports, becoming icons in the process.

But perhaps the most epic stories came from Latin America, where the Mexican national soccer team was able to dominate their Brazilian counterpart in the Olympic soccer finals, winning their first Olympic gold in the history of the team. Lionel Messi also established himself as one of the greatest sports figures in history, breaking records by leading the Spanish Barcelona soccer team “Barça” to multiple victories.

And let's not forget the powerful knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez, which was enough to send legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao to the ring floor in a memorable match in Las Vegas, Nevada that left many astonished.

Check out these and more outstanding Latino athletes in 2012 above.